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Qigong and Tai Chi Have Multiple Health Benefits

Review finds evidence of improvements in areas including bone density, cardiopulmonary health

THURSDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- The combined outcomes of 77 studies on Qigong and Tai Chi suggest that these practices have a positive effect on multiple areas of health and well-being, according to a review published in the July/August issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.

Roger Jahnke, of the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi in Santa Barbara, Calif., and colleagues reviewed 77 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reporting on the results of Qigong and Tai Chi interventions and published during the period 1993 to 2007. A total of 6,410 participants were included in these studies. The researchers examined the evidence for health outcomes across several categories.

Most of the studies compared the effects of Qigong or Tai Chi to a non-treated group, while some studies compared them to other forms of exercise. The researchers noted significant positive outcomes for Tai Chi or Qigong across nine categories: bone density (four studies), cardiopulmonary health (19 studies), physical function (16 studies), quality of life (17 studies), self-efficacy (eight studies), fall prevention (23 studies), psychological symptoms (27 studies), immune function (six studies), and patient reported outcomes (13 studies). The authors concluded that there was sufficient evidence from RCTs to suggest that Tai Chi and Qigong should be promoted as an alternative exercise, especially for individuals who might prefer these activities over more conventional or vigorous forms of exercise.

"With the mounting evidence for health benefits and the progress in research methodology, it is likely that Tai Chi and Qigong will play a strong role in the emerging integrative medicine system as well as in prevention based interventions in the evolving health care delivery systems," the authors write.

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